Saturday, November 21, 2009

A rant. And a bit of a rave.

Warning: I am in a bit of a foul mood.  I assume no responsibility for transferral of said mood to others who might otherwise be in a good mood.  Read at your own risk.  Thanks!

Why in the name of all things worth fighting for am I getting sick?  Again!?  It is not okay, and I am not okay with this.  All I want and have wanted for the past three years is to be healthy and to stay healthy.  Sure, sure, yeah, yeah, there is no more cancer in me.  I am "healthy."  But this death-cold is getting ridiculous.  It has been a year since I finished any and all cancer therapies, and yet here I am, still battling the Plague almost every other week.  According to my doctor, it is possible to still have a lowered resistance to infections maybe three to six months following treatment.  (If anyone has any other science to refute this, please, share....)  At this point, I should be completely in the clear.  I should not be cutting my runs in Half because I cannot breathe and I do not have the energy to push myself.  Perhaps it is the running that is doing me in...?  But no!  Not yet, anyway.  According to Runner's World, running can actually boost your immunity, at least until you start running longer than 90 minutes, after which point it inhibits immunity.  But I am barely running 30 (40 if I'm lucky and have eaten) minutes.  So.  Running, out.  What else is there?  I wash my hands like a maniac; my job pretty much requires constant hand-washing.  I usually get at least eight hours of sleep, often more.  I drink lots of water and eat generally well.  Why, then, am I Still Getting Sick?  Gaaaahhh.

And a rave:  I have always sort of alluded to this, but now I am going to lay it all out there.

I have not gotten through treatment and post-treatment and after post-treatment by myself.  My friends have been there for me.  My family has been indescribably amazing.  Even though it was often difficult living at home and then dealing with my parents' concerns long-distance, I would not have been able to do anything without my mom and my dad's support.  And finally, just about two years ago, I started seeing a psychologist.  Once I returned to school after my major treatment, I struggled to assemble some new sense of self, and I felt desperately alone.  I needed professional help, and while it was very hard for me to admit I could no longer handle everything alone, it was also a huge step that I sought therapy.  I saw my psychologist up until the week I left Boston this past July, and I cannot imagine what would have happened to me if I hadn't started working with her.  Friends and family can only offer so much empathy, and I was failing at readjusting.  She helped me to flesh out and at least attempt to resolve a lot of cancer-related issues and more than a few issues exacerbated by cancer.  One of the major revelations and acceptances was that I was/am depressed, and the cancer was making it worse.  So a year and a half ago, I started taking anti-depressants, and they have made such a tremendous difference.  I did not want to start taking them; again, I thought I could handle my emotions on my own.  The last thing I wanted was to start taking another drug, especially one that would affect my mood.  I figured I could bring myself out of my depression on my own.  Alas, I really couldn't.  So, pills, therapy, family and friends.  My survival kit for post-cancer treatment ailments.  I am still working through most of my issues, and I am still struggling with depression.  Somehow, I don't think that is ever going to go away.  Every day requires a concerted effort to push through, to smile at the stupid little stuff.

I am and have always been stubborn.  I downplay and even ignore my problems, whether physical or emotional. My stubbornness is why it took me so long to see a doctor when my bones were all stuffed full of cancer, and it is why it took me six years to seek out help for something I have always struggled with, the depression thing.  But ultimately, we all reach some sort of breaking point, a point where we can either admit we need help and receive it, or else we can block the pain out and let the potential for healing become exponentially more difficult.  I wish I could say I always recognize and ask for help when I need it, but I don't.  Especially when I am dealing with myself.  Maybe that's why I am still getting colds; maybe my body is really saying, "Caroline, seriously, pay attention to me!  Eat more leafy greens!"  But who knows, really.

Well, I feel a bit better now, having gotten all of that out.  haha, I still have a whole treasure trove of concerns I may or may not get around to addressing at some point on here, but I will hold off for the rest of this evening.  (A teaser though:  Chemo Brain!  Real?  Imagined?  Am I going completely crazy?  Am I already crazy?  Why can I not remember that freaking word...??)  Otherwise, I hope everyone has wonderful Sundays.  It is supposed to maybe snow-ish here on Thursday, so we will see what this coming week brings.  Personally, I am hoping for good news of Any kind.  Word.  Peace.